One of the things I love best about summer is that weekends are mine. Yes, I’m taking a class this summer and yes, I have a part time job, but I do not have to spend my Saturday’s writing lesson plans and that is an incredible feeling. When I have a totally open summer Saturday, I like to make the most of it. Often, that means going to tag sales and farmers markets.
On days I’m serious about yard sales, I generally find myself in Pittsfield. There were at least a dozen sales listed online for today and I visited quite a few. Unfortunately there always comes a point, especially when I’m traveling alone, that I get tired of tag sales. This tiredness is caused by my anxiety about driving down roads I’m unfamiliar with, frustration with dodging traffic on streets where people have parked on both sides and realizing about 30 seconds after I finally park that I don’t need any of the baby items being sold. Exhaustion induced by tag sale shopping is also caused by heat, because our car’s air conditioning decided last week that it didn’t want to work anymore.
So this morning I abandoned the tag sales left on my list and headed to some other seasonal attractions in Pittsfield. My first stop was the Downtown Pittsfield Farmer’s Market. This market was just started last summer and there’s something about being in the middle of the city that makes it feel special. Pro-tip (especially if your car’s AC is broken): Park in the Columbus Avenue parking garage. There is parking at the market, but I much prefer the garage. There is free 3 hour public parking, you don’t have to parallel park and it’s shaded.
Today I found the downtown market to be a little heavy on pre-made goods and light on the fresh produce. There was pizza by the slice, a food truck, a coffee roaster, a couple wineries, and some bakeries. There were also several vendors with produce, herbs and meat. As someone with a CSA share, it’s nice to have the option to purchase items that aren’t vegetables and check out all the locally made products. Who can complain about wine or sausage tastings? I left happy, but empty handed.
From there, I headed to the Berkshire Athenaeum’s book sale. I’d seen the signs for the sale before, but never had the chance to stop. It was amazing. The books were incredibly organized and the selection was great. I walked out with 4 books for less than $3. The book sale continues tomorrow and the next one is November 6-8th. It’s already on my calendar.
Finally, I stopped by the other Pittsfield area Farmer’s market at the Berkshire Mall. I didn’t need anything – we just picked up our CSA share yesterday – but I was immediately tempted by all the awesome looking produce. The market was much more vegetable, fruit and plant focused than its downtown counterpart. I was extra excited to see corn on the cob, blueberries and tomatoes. I left the market with some green beans, 4 ears of corn and a few tomatoes. I’m planning to return to the market next Saturday and get more beans for canning, which I missed out on last year.
I often skip checking out farmer’s markets because we get so much at our CSA. But today I remembered that there’s other good things to be found that our farm doesn’t supply; I’m definitely glad I stopped by.